Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Business

Zynga gives new CEO millions to leave Microsoft's Xbox

SAN FRANCISCO — Struggling Web game maker Zynga gave new CEO Don Mattrick a $5 million signing bonus and stock awards valued at $40 million to lure him away from his previous job overseeing Microsoft's Xbox console for video games.

Mattrick's compensation package also includes a $1 million annual salary and a guaranteed bonus of about $1 million this year, according to a regulatory filing made late Wednesday. Zynga announced Mattrick would replace company co-founder Mark Pincus as CEO earlier this week but didn't detail how much its new leader would be paid at that time.

Zynga is counting on Mattrick, 49, to reverse a steady string of losses that has caused the company's stock price to plunge 66 percent from its initial public offering price of $10 in late 2011.

The stock closed at $3.42 Wednesday. That price is nearly 20 percent higher than where the stock stood before the news broke about Mattrick's defection from Microsoft, a sign that at least some investors think he can revive Zynga.

Zynga, the maker of once-popular games such as Farmville, gave Mattrick 8.9 million shares of restricted stock initially valued at $25 million to make up for the some of the compensation he surrendered by leaving Microsoft. Those shares are already worth slightly more on paper, but they won't vest until July 2016, according to Zynga's regulatory filing.

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Published: 05/21/18